RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State men’s basketball team opens its 111th season of play Wednesday evening when it hosts Charleston Southern on the first day of the Mako Medical Wolfpack Invitational.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. and the game will be televised on the ACC Network. Dave O’Brien and Paul Biancardi will be on the call. NC State fans can also listen to Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes call the action on the Wolfpack Sports Network.
Due to health and safety recommendations and current state guidelines, home NC State men’s basketball games are closed to the public.
- NC State opens its 111th season of basketball Wednesday when it hosts Charleston Southern.
- The Pack returns three starters (Manny Bates, Devon Daniels and D.J. Funderburk) from last season’s 20-12 team.
- NC State has an interesting mix of veterans and youth on its team this season. The Pack returns 100 combined starts from last season’s team. Of its 12 scholarship players, six have been in a college program for three years or more. The other six scholarship players are either true freshmen (5) or a redshirt freshman (1).
- Seven players (six freshmen and transfer Thomas Allen) have an opportunity to make their NC State debut on Wednesday. That is 58.3% of the scholarship roster that hasn’t appeared in an NC State uniform. This is not the most of the Kevin Keatts era though. In the 2018-19 season opener, the Pack had eight players make their program-debut in a 105-55 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 6, 2018.
- Kevin Keatts is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Wolfpack. He las led NC State to 20-win seasons in all three years as head coach and the Pack and has gone .500 or better in ACC play in all three seasons. The Pack is 31-6 (.837) against non-conference opponents in regular season play under Keatts, including a 27-1 (.964) record at home. NC State enters Wednesday’s contest having won its last 20 regular season home games against non-conference opponents.
Noting NC State
- Wednesday marks the fourth season with the Pack for Head Coach Kevin Keatts. He welcomes back three starters from last season’s 20-12 team. In three seasons, Keatts has guided NC State to a 65-36 (.644) record, including 30-26 in ACC play.
- NC State will have 12 scholarship players available to play on Wednesday. Last season, it wasn’t until the seventh game of the season that the Pack had more than eight scholarship players available to play. For most of the 2019-20 season, NC State only had nine scholarship players in uniform.
- This season is the first time with NC State that Kevin Keatts has not added any grad transfers to the program. In his first three seasons with the Pack, Keatts added two grad transfers to the program each offseason.
- The Pack added zero transfers of any kind to the program this offseason, the first time it hasn’t added a veteran newcomer to the team under Keatts. In Keatts’ first three seasons, the Pack added four veteran transfers (graduate, JUCO or four-year) each offseason.
- NC State signed five freshmen in the Class of 2020 to join the Pack. In his first three seasons combined at NC State, head coach Kevin Keatts added six freshmen total to the team.
- Wednesday’s game marks the first time since Nov. 14, 1998 that NC State has opened the season at Reynolds Coliseum. The Pack opened that season with an 81-60 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 14, 1998. The 1998-99 season was the last season before the program moved home games to PNC Arena.
- Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular season start date was pushed back three weeks. The Nov. 25 start date is the latest NC State has started its basketball season since 1995 when NC State defeated VMI, 104-78, on Nov. 25, 1995.
- The Pack is 20-2 since the 1999-2000 season when playing at Reynolds Coliseum. (1999-2000 season was the first for the program at PNC Arena).
- NC State has won 25 of its last 26 home-openers when played against a non-conference opponent.
- For the fourth consecutive season, head coach Kevin Keatts will have to replace his leading scorer from the previous season. This is the first time at NC State that he doesn’t return the leading scorer, rebounder or assist man from last season. Last year, senior C.J. Bryce led the team in scoring and rebounding (13.3 and 6.3) and senior Markell Johnson led the team (and ACC) in assists (6.8).
NC State – Charleston Southern Series
- NC State leads the all-time series with Charleston Southern, 8-0.
- The Pack last played the Buccaneers in Keatts’ first season as head coach of NC State. It was the Pack’s second game of the season and NC State defeated CSU, 78-56. Phlandrous Fleming Jr., led Charleston Southern with 17 points that night in the loss to NC State. Fleming Jr., – now a senior – is the Preseason Big South Player of the Year.
- The 135-80 win for NC State over Charleston Southern on Nov. 28, 1990 remains one for the NC State record book. The Pack scored 70 points in the first half which is still the most in program history in the first half of a game. The 135 total points are the fourth-most in a single game in program history and remains the most points scored by an NC State team since 1975.
Noting Charleston Southern
- Charleston Southern went 14-18 last season, including a 7-11 mark in the Big South.
- The Buccaneers are picked third in the preseason Big South poll this season. The third-place prediction for CSU is the highest since the 2013-14 season.
- Senior guard Phlandrous Fleming Jr. is the Preseason Player of the Year in the Big South. He averaged 17.4 points per game last season and led the conference in rebounding (8.7). He was named the 2019-20 Defensive POTY in the Big South for his efforts on the defensive side of the ball.
- Overall, Charleston Southern returns three starters that all averaged in double figures last season and four of its top-five scorers overall.